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School Board 'should be commended' for eliminating paddling
The Dec. 14 editorial taking the Columbia County School Board to task for dropping a corporal punishment policy off the books after it hadn't been used in years was the reverse of what the paper should have done. Robert Fathman, president, National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools

Abstention was unavoidable; city charter doesn't allow 'no' vote
I agree (with The News-Times' Dec. 21 editorial, "No more bad ideas from next door"); I hate it when someone abstains from voting. But unfortunately, the city of Grovetown's charter says that when a full quorum is present and there is a tie vote, the mayor can only vote "yes" in favor of the issue. It takes three affirmative votes to pass any legislation, but the mayor cannot vote "no." Mayor George James, Grovetown

Harlem's citizens will 'pay the price' for homeowners' dispute
The letter is a result of my letter from Oct. 1, "Harlem officials are locked into their own way of seeing things." Stephanie Salazar, Harlem

Military Milestones
Air Force Airman Lawrence A. Helms, a 2008 graduate of Hephzibah High School and son of Sue Helms, of Hephzibah, has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio.

UGA student thriving as apprentice in second year
Since becoming a freshman at the University of Georgia, Muktha Natrajan has spent the past year and a half conducting scientific research and building relationships with faculty members and her peers.

Deputies help ensure children in need have happy holidays
Though chaos might be expected along the toy aisle of Wal-Mart during the week before Christmas, the place to be Monday for nearly 50 Columbia County children was the clothes section.

Grant program helps fund arts programs, scholarships
Without the help of special funding, many of the art events in Columbia County would not take place.

Library seeks area authors for signings
The Columbia County Library wants to help area authors gain exposure by inviting them to participate in a book signing and discussion.

Even in military, twins prove inseparable
Wherever one goes, the other follows.

Christmas brings yearning for home into sharper focus for young soldiers
Pfc. Tabitha Robinson, of the 369th Signal Battalion, couldn't wait to get home to North Carolina and homemade sweet potato pie. Pvt. Rosemary Bedgood was excited to be heading home to San Diego, where her family was waiting on her to decorate the Christmas tree.

Holiday message has sober side
Before younger soldiers left Fort Gordon for their two weeks of holiday leave, they were reminded through song, dance and skits to be safe and to think before acting.

Art school's students take top honors at county fairs
A picture might be worth 1,000 words, but learning to paint starts with the right choice of made-up words for instructors at an award-winning Columbia County art school.

Pupils in 4-H excel in participation
After operating for nearly a century, Columbia County's 4-H program continues to thrive.

Police Blotter
Hephzibah man robbed in Martinez parking lot

Property Transfers
North Star Home Builders to George G. Boykin and Paige Boykin, 5144 Windmill Place, $295,400.

Christmas in Columbia County
The faculty, staff and pupils of Martinez Elementary School worked with the Columbia County Foundation for Children and collected gifts, clothes and other items for three families and 10 children. Pictured are a few pupils with a van packed and ready to be delivered. Susan Thigpen (left) and Cheryl Peel are the faculty members who organized the collection. Pupils are Ashley Cook (from left), Bayden Blackwell, Tyler Holly, Lena Rodriquez and Tyler Cale.

On Vacation
Diane and Bob Forrester visited the port of Patmos during a Catholic pilgrimage following in the footsteps of St. Paul. Their cruise also took them to Athens and Corinth, Greece, many Greek islands and several locations in Turkey.

Get Up & Go
A free MCG Alzheimer's lunch program with Dr. Suzanne Smith, director of the Memory Disorder Clinic at MCG, will be held from noon-1 p.m. Jan. 13 at the MCG Alumni Center at 919 15th St. For reservations, call Kathy Tuckey at (706) 731-9060 by noon Jan. 12.

Current Events
The Golden Harvest Food Bank Empty Bowl fundraiser is holding a T-shirt design contest for middle- and high-school age students. Deadline for entries is Jan. 10. For information, call Debbie Katcoff at (706) 868-4030.

Pets of the Week
CSRA Happy Tails Rescue Inc. is a nonprofit licensed animal rescue group committed to the welfare of stray and unwanted dogs and cats in the CSRA. Adoptions are held each Saturday and Sunday at SuperPetz on Bobby Jones Expressway in Martinez from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call Barb Gleitsmann at (706) 836-2708.

Newsmakers
Chris Schiffbauer of the Martinez Evans Rotary Club (right) and Ed Burr, District 6910 grant chair (left), donated $4,000 to Gerald Woods of the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation.

Divorces
Phillip B. Bishop and Tracie Parker Bishop, Dec. 17, 2008.

Some of the gifts that Santa forgot
We've checked behind the tree. Nothing fell out on the roof by the chimney. And no gifts were accidentally covered by discarded wrapping paper.

Editorial Cartoon
Editorial Cartoon for Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Revenge of the Rotato
Did you get any of those Christmas letters this year?

Wishing for a calm and merry Christmas
The busiest day for mailing typically is the Monday before Christmas. The busiest shopping day often is Christmas Eve. This, then, is a very busy week.

Special connection exists among coaches
I have often wondered what opposing baseball coaches talk about when they stand together on the field before games.

Opinions on this year's All-County selections
The 2008 Columbia County News-Times All-County football team was released today. Here are my thoughts on the selections:

Christmas trees have many uses long after ornaments are put away
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Finch tabbed player of year
Evans High School coach Marty Jackson said at preseason camp in August that his running back was going to surprise people.

Christmas trees get new life and help fish at Clarks Hill
Now that Christmas has come and gone and it's time to put away the decorations, give your Christmas tree new life by dropping it off at one of many recycling locations throughout the county.

Coaches team up to aid one of their own
The organizers of Tuesday's baseball and softball clinic benefiting the Sissy Barnes Foundation had two factors working against them.

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